Archive for September, 2016

ID theft can happen in several ways (Better Business Bureau) | www …

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Every two seconds, someone’s identity is stolen. This is about the same amount of time it takes to shred an important document. Identity theft is the one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S., which happens when someone uses your personal information without your permission for financial gain.

Your identity can be stolen in a number of ways: stolen checks; ATM cards; fraudulent change of address; Social Security number misuse; passports; driver’s license, etc.

If your identity is stolen, you should first file a police report. Then, contact your creditors/financial institutions and one of the credit bureaus. You can also place a fraud alert on your credit report when you contact the credit bureau. Also, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or call (877) 438-4338.

When looking for ways to protect yourself against identity theft, BBB suggests you:

• Check your credit reports regularly. You’re allowed one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.

• Monitor account statements to be sure you were the source for all activity.

• Shred credit card applications and statements before throwing them away.

• Never give out personal information.

• Look for secured websites. Make sure the website has a locked pad icon and “https” in the URL address.

• Protect your PINs and other passwords and change them regularly.

• Cut up credit cards before pitching them and limit the amount of cards you carry.

• Consider opting out of pre-approved credit card offers, which can be stolen from your mailbox by identity thieves.

• Update your computer with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

• Sign up for the Do Not Call List at www.donotcall.gov.

The BBB will be hosting its Secure Your ID Day on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Roustong Funeral Home, 81 N. Main St., Centerville. At this free event, your BBB will shred documents containing personal information for you onsite to help protect you from ID thieves.

If you have any questions regarding identity theft, go online to www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. When contacting the BBB about identity theft, you can also request a copy of a free brochure about ID scams.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

Article source: http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/business/id-theft-can-happen-in-several-ways/nsgkP/

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2 men indicted on federal fraud, identity theft charges

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Two Georgia men were indicted on fraud and identity theft charges by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Justice announced in a joint statement.

 

Gregory Simeon and Claudell Ralph Petit, both 29, allegedly possessed 15 or more unauthorized credit and debit cards in Jefferson County in August 2015, authorities said. Simeon alone was charged with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. Authorities said both men are charged jointly with another count of fraud and identity theft.

If convicted, the men could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each fraud charge. Aggravated identity theft carries a 2-year prison term and $250,000 fine for each charge.

The Secret Service, Birmingham Police and Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office worked together on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Atwood is prosecuting.

Article source: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/09/2_men_indicted_on_federal_frau.html

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Edina financial advisor pleads guilty to identity theft – Story | KMSP – KMSP

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

– An Edina financial advisor pleaded guilty to identity theft in a case in which he drained $220,000 out of an 88-year-old stroke victim’s annuity account, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

John Heath, 45, pleaded guilty to the single count of identity theft in a hearing Monday. A second count of theft by swindle will be dropped at his sentencing. Additionally, a second case in which he swindled thousands of dollars from an 83-year-old woman will be dropped. Because of the second case, however, Heath agreed to a prison term of 41 months, which he is expected to receive at a Dec. 16 hearing.

“Everyone involved in this case did a good job, from employees at Wings Financial who saw irregularities, to the Robbinsdale police and the Minnesota Department of Commerce investigators,” Freeman said. “Sadly, Mr. Heath wanted to live a lifestyle his income could not support, so he preyed on a man who trusted him and who Heath knew was in poor mental and physical health. It is despicable and now he will pay the price.”

According to the criminal complaint and the admissions Heath made during his guilty plea, Heath had been the financial advisor for the victim for nearly two decades. The victim suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

In 2008, Heath helped the man set up an annuity account with Jackson National, which grew to $220,000. In January 2015, a service request form was submitted to Jackson National. It had the man’s name, as well as his social security number, date of birth and contract number. The form asked that the man’s information be updated to include a home address along with an email address of hereistrouble1@gmail.com. According to the complaint, both addresses belong to Heath.

Heath then opened a checking account at Wings Financial, using the man’s social security number, birthdate and driver’s license number, all of which Heath had through his work as the man’s financial advisor. However, the home address, email address and home phone number were all Heath’s. According to the complaint, the man had no idea the account was set up.

Last September, Heath took out $18,500 from the annuity and made a deposit into the phony Wings account. He made several other withdrawals, before finally taking out the final $194,172 to close out the annuity in October, according to the complaint.

Because Heath controlled the Wings account, he would then make ATM withdrawals or write checks to himself or to his credit card company. Until Wings became suspicious and froze the checking account on Jan. 20, 2016, Heath used the money to pay more than $20,000 on his credit card bill and withdrew more than $30,000 in cash. He also used it to purchase more than $2,500 worth of merchandise from Target, the complaint said.

Article source: http://www.fox9.com/news/208227518-story

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Tennessee officials urge college students to watch out for identity …

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

NASHVILLE (WATE) – With the fall semester underway, Tennessee officials are urging college students to protect themselves from identity theft.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs says identity theft is a serious crime that can ruin your finances, credit history and reputation. Once identity thieves have your information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on credit cards, open new utility accounts or get medical treatment on your health insurance.

TDCI has advice for Tennessee college students to protect their identities:

  • Order your credit report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act mandates that each of the major credit bureaus supply consumers with a free copy of their credit report each year. Get your credit report atAnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Know how to spot phishing. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to get your sensitive information by pretending to be a site you trust. Phishing schemes are successful because you believe you’re just signing into your bank or credit card account, when it’s really a ploy to get your important information. When logging into these accounts, make sure that you are not being asked for any information that you usually wouldn’t be required to provide to log in.
  • Don’t reuse passwords. As tempting as it may be to reuse passwords, it’s a really good practice to use a different password for every account you access online. By keeping different passwords for different accounts, someone will not be able to access your checking, brokerage and email accounts if they discover one of your passwords.
  • Don’t put private information on public computers. If you’re away from home, make sure not to save private information on a computer used by the public.
  • Unfortunately, sometimes identity theft occurs. Once you discover you are the victim of identity theft, you should immediately notify credit bureaus, creditors, and law enforcement
    about the identity theft. In dealing with authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, times, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing, send correspondence by certified mail and keep copies of all letters and documents.

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Article source: http://wjhl.com/2016/09/28/tennessee-officials-urge-college-students-to-watch-out-for-identity-theft/

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College students are popular ID theft targets

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

They’re young, upwardly-mobile, but still have a lot to learn. So is it any wonder that college students are a favorite target of identity thieves?

But NewsChannel 5 On Your Side finds there are a few simple tips that co-eds can use so they don’t get fleeced before they get that sheepskin.

“I’m not very good with money, I just don’t think of it,” said Kaleigh Raynaud, a sophmore at St. Louis University.

Unsuspecting, unaware and blissfully ignorant. That describes the attitude of some college students when it comes to identity theft.

“I’d probably fall for something if it was good enough,” said Gareth Greenwell, a sophmore.

But if they’re sheltered now, it won’t last forever. Bad credit is hard to lose.

“It could jeopardize the job you get, it could jeopardize how a bank will treat you if you apply for a loan. it’s like a permanent record,” said Katherine Stein, a local student.

According to experts, it takes the average college student 130 days to detect any identity theft on their accounts. They also lose five times as much money as other age groups that experience identity theft

The better business bureau has some easy ways to reduce your risk of identity theft in college.

First, don’t leave important documents in your dorm or school mailbox

“Someone could steal your keys, anyone could get into your dorm,” said Stein.

And think twice before lending your credit card to a friend.

“You never really know what they’re going to buy. They’re my friends, but they could always say ‘Oh, I accidentally used the wrong card,'” said Greenwell.

Making it even more important for college students to check their bank statements for suspicious activity.

“I think I just trust the bank to notify me, which probably isn’t good,” said Raynaud.

“I do that at least once or twice a week,” said Athena Murong, a junior.

We found the best step to take is one a lot of students don’t bother with until they’re out of school: checking their credit report. Often because many believe their credit rating won’t change if they’re not paying bills.

“I don’t have credit right now, I don’t have a credit card or pay rent,” said Greenwell.

“Ten years from now, when you have no money, no identity, you don’t know what to do. Prepare yourself by being careful, even if it’s a hassle now. it will save you a lot in the end, the little pieces you do now,” said Stein.

The Federal Trade Commission received close to 50,000 identity fraud reports involving people aged 20-29.

The BBB also had the following tips:

  • School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address, such as a parent’s home or a post office box.
  • Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.
  • Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend. Just say no if your friend wants you to cosign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
  • Make sure your computer, laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer safe from new schemes or hacks by identity thieves online.
  • Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run. Getting your statements online is more secure, but make sure you actually look at the statements.
  • When shopping on unfamiliar websites, always check the company out first with BBB. Look for a BBB Accredited Business seal along with other trust seals; click on the seals to confirm that they are legitimate.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year with all three reporting bureaus for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

Article source: http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/5-on-your-side/college-students-popular-id-theft-targets/326915603

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Edina financial advisor pleads guilty to identity theft, draining account – KMSP

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

– An Edina financial advisor pleaded guilty to identity theft in a case in which he drained $220,000 out of an 88-year-old stroke victim’s annuity account, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

John Heath, 45, pleaded guilty to the single count of identity theft in a hearing Monday. A second count of theft by swindle will be dropped at his sentencing. Additionally, a second case in which he swindled thousands of dollars from an 83-year-old woman will be dropped. Because of the second case, however, Heath agreed to a prison term of 41 months, which he is expected to receive at a Dec. 16 hearing.

“Everyone involved in this case did a good job, from employees at Wings Financial who saw irregularities, to the Robbinsdale police and the Minnesota Department of Commerce investigators,” Freeman said. “Sadly, Mr. Heath wanted to live a lifestyle his income could not support, so he preyed on a man who trusted him and who Heath knew was in poor mental and physical health. It is despicable and now he will pay the price.”

According to the criminal complaint and the admissions Heath made during his guilty plea, Heath had been the financial advisor for the victim for nearly two decades. The victim suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

In 2008, Heath helped the man set up an annuity account with Jackson National, which grew to $220,000. In January 2015, a service request form was submitted to Jackson National. It had the man’s name, as well as his social security number, date of birth and contract number. The form asked that the man’s information be updated to include a home address along with an email address of hereistrouble1@gmail.com. According to the complaint, both addresses belong to Heath.

Heath then opened a checking account at Wings Financial, using the man’s social security number, birthdate and driver’s license number, all of which Heath had through his work as the man’s financial advisor. However, the home address, email address and home phone number were all Heath’s. According to the complaint, the man had no idea the account was set up.

Last September, Heath took out $18,500 from the annuity and made a deposit into the phony Wings account. He made several other withdrawals, before finally taking out the final $194,172 to close out the annuity in October, according to the complaint.

Because Heath controlled the Wings account, he would then make ATM withdrawals or write checks to himself or to his credit card company. Until Wings became suspicious and froze the checking account on Jan. 20, 2016, Heath used the money to pay more than $20,000 on his credit card bill and withdrew more than $30,000 in cash. He also used it to purchase more than $2,500 worth of merchandise from Target, the complaint said.

Article source: http://www.fox9.com/news/208227518-story

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Young Americans are often victims of identity theft – NBC-2.com …

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Several studies, including a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), show that young people between 18 and 24 years old often become the victims of identity theft, and most do not realize it.

The FTC report stated that during 2015, over 490,000 complaints were made about identity theft. That number is 47% higher than reports from 2014. Most of the reports were made by those under the age of 24.

This study corresponds with one done by Javelin Strategy and Research. It reported that in 2014, young people were three times less likely to notice that their identity had been stolen. Twenty-two percent of identity theft victims were notified by another party, most often debt collectors, or learned about the crime when a lender denied their credit application.

Students often fall victim to identity theft because they are careless with documents containing personal information. Some do not believe anyone would want to steal their identity because they do not have a large amount of income. Criminals target students because of the vast amount of personal information that can be easily obtained at a college.

Officials urge students to destroy documents containing personal information, especially those that include full or partial Social Security numbers. They should also remember to be careful what information they put on social media. That information plus an address and phone number can often be enough to steal someone’s identity.

If you would like to prevent identity theft, check out our credit monitoring service.

Article source: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/33259162/young-americans-are-often-victims-of-identity-theft

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Tennessee officials urge college students to watch out for identity theft

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

NASHVILLE (WATE) – With the fall semester underway, Tennessee officials are urging college students to protect themselves from identity theft.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs says identity theft is a serious crime that can ruin your finances, credit history and reputation. Once identity thieves have your information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on credit cards, open new utility accounts or get medical treatment on your health insurance.

TDCI has advice for Tennessee college students to protect their identities:

  • Order your credit report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act mandates that each of the major credit bureaus supply consumers with a free copy of their credit report each year. Get your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Know how to spot phishing. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to get your sensitive information by pretending to be a site you trust. Phishing schemes are successful because you believe you’re just signing into your bank or credit card account, when it’s really a ploy to get your important information. When logging into these accounts, make sure that you are not being asked for any information that you usually wouldn’t be required to provide to log in.
  • Don’t reuse passwords. As tempting as it may be to reuse passwords, it’s a really good practice to use a different password for every account you access online. By keeping different passwords for different accounts, someone will not be able to access your checking, brokerage and email accounts if they discover one of your passwords.
  • Don’t put private information on public computers. If you’re away from home, make sure not to save private information on a computer used by the public.
  • Unfortunately, sometimes identity theft occurs. Once you discover you are the victim of identity theft, you should immediately notify credit bureaus, creditors, and law enforcement
    about the identity theft. In dealing with authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, times, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing, send correspondence by certified mail and keep copies of all letters and documents.

Article source: http://wate.com/2016/09/27/tennessee-officials-urge-college-students-to-watch-out-for-identity-theft/

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Arkansas to offer enhanced security driver’s licenses

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Enhanced security card fights identity theft

Article source: http://www.thv11.com/news/local/ark-new-identification-cards-more-resistant-to-identity-theft/326353938

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Consumer Reports: Avoiding medical identity theft

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

9NEWS @ 4. 9/26/2016

Article source: http://www.9news.com/money/personal-finance/consumer/consumer-reports-avoiding-medical-identity-theft/326331472

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